Tuesday October 22, 2019
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India’s literacy rate lowest among the largest economies

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By Ramon Collado

As of 2015, the literacy rate in India is 72.1 per cent, which entails that over 300 million Indians do not have the ability to read and write. Interestingly, nations that compete with India in trade; services; and industry boast high levels of literacy among their populations—South Africa, for instance, accounts with a literacy rate of 94 per cent; Singapore 96.8 per cent and Taiwan 98.5 per cent. More importantly, China, India’s greatest competitor—India and China are the largest economies in Asia; only trailing Japan—accounts with a 96.4 per cent literacy rate.

With a population of over 1.2 billion, India, the 7th largest economy on the planet, may not be able to maintain a symmetrical pace towards economic development vis-à-vis its rival economies, due to its poor education expenditure; hence, India’s status as an economic powerhouse can turn into an ephemeral, economic boom. If India fails to increase its education expenditure; its economy will fall behind its competitors and slump.

The annual GDP (gross domestic product) of India is 1.8 trillion; however, only 3.9 per cent of it goes to the education system. Japan, a nation that has achieved economic development invests 9.6 per cent of its 4.9 trillion GDP. More specifically, when one compares India to Brazil—a proportional comparison as Brazil and India are similar economies; Brazil surpasses India’s investment with a 6.3 per cent education expenditure of its 1.8 trillion GDP.

India scored 37.8 out of 100—100 represents the best and 0 the worst—on 2015 Universitas 21 ranking of countries which are the best at providing higher education for their populations. India had the lowest score among the 10 largest economies on the planet—United States, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, India, Brazil, Italy, and Canada. It also scored lower than most of its economic competitors: South Africa (45), Indonesia (38.8), Malaysia (55.4), Mexico (41.7) Singapore (80.3), Taiwan (63.6), and South Korea (60.5).

Emerging economies like Kenya, South Africa, Malaysia, and Nigeria refer to human capital flight (brain drain) as a serious problem, India is not the exception. Human capital flight is caused by a country’s political instability, low education expenditure, low salaries, lack of job opportunities and other factors. Brain drain prevents nations from benefiting from its skilled professionals as they opt for more attractive career opportunities abroad—30 million Indians working for the developed countries are highly skilled. More notable, skilled professionals that work abroad may wind up working for the competitor which can affect the development of the economy of their country of origin—for instance, an Indian, skilled professional that moves to China for a better salary.

India must not ignore the pitfalls of its education system; therefore, it must increase its education expenditure. At this pivotal point for emerging economies—Brazil, India— seeking for economic development, skilled professionals make the difference due to the innovative contributions they can bring into a developing nation. Therefore, welcoming programs for skilled professionals that have left the country can mitigate the brain drain issue in India. Also, job opportunities; grants; attractive salaries; robust investments in higher education and research-oriented programs dedicated to increase the literacy rate, can contribute to the development of the education system simultaneously motivating skilled professionals to remain in the country.

India will not achieve economic development with a poorly educated population; on the contrary, as India’s competitors propel their education systems, and India’s education expenditure remains stagnant, its economic development will decrease while the economies of countries that are prioritizing education become more robust. India must increase its education expenditure in order to secure an elite-class of human capital, thus, steadily advancing towards economic development.

Collado is a graduate candidate in international affairs at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. The article was first published in The Hill.

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New Interface That Allows Phone to ‘Feel’ Sensations just as Human Skin

In the study, the researchers created a phone case, computer touch pad and smart watch to demonstrate how touch gestures on the Skin-On interface can convey expressive messages

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Human Skin
The "Skin-On" interface, mimics human skin in appearance but also in sensing resolution. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new interface that allows phones, wearables or computers to “feel” sensations such as tickling, caressing, twisting and even pinching just as the human skin does.

The “Skin-On” interface, mimics human skin in appearance but also in sensing resolution.

In the study, the researchers created a phone case, computer touch pad and smart watch to demonstrate how touch gestures on the Skin-On interface can convey expressive messages for computer mediated communication with humans or virtual characters.

The researchers demonstrated that tickling the skin can generate a laughing emoji on a phone, while tapping it can create a surprised emoji.

“One of the main use of smartphones is mediated communication, using text, voice, video, or a combination,” said lead author of the study Marc Teyssier from Telecomm ParisTech in France.

Skin
The artificial Skin allows devices to ‘feel’ the user’s grasp — its pressure and location, and can detect interactions such as tickling, caressing, even twisting and pinching. Pixabay

“We implemented a messaging application where users can express rich tactile emotions on the artificial skin. The intensity of the touch controls the size of the emojis. A strong grip conveys anger while tickling the skin displays a laughing emoji and tapping creates a surprised emoji” Teyssier said.

The study scheduled to be presented at the 32nd ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium to be held in New Orleans in the US from October 20-23 takes touch technology to the next level.

The researchers adopted a bio-driven approach to developing the multi-layer, silicone membrane. This is made up of a surface textured layer, an electrode layer of conductive threads and a hypodermis layer.

Not only is the interface more natural than a rigid casing, it can also detect a plethora of gestures made by the end-users.

Skin
Touch gestures on the Human Skin-On interface can convey expressive messages for computer mediated communication with humans or virtual characters. Pixabay

As a result, the artificial skin allows devices to ‘feel’ the user’s grasp — its pressure and location, and can detect interactions such as tickling, caressing, even twisting and pinching.

“This is the first time we have the opportunity to add skin to our interactive devices. The idea is perhaps a bit surprising, but skin is an interface we are highly familiar with so why not use it and its richness with the devices we use every day?” said University of Bristol Professor Anne Roudaut who supervised the research.

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“Artificial skin has been widely studied in the field of robotics but with a focus on safety, sensing or cosmetic aims. This is the first research we are aware of that looks at exploiting realistic artificial skin as a new input method for augmenting devices,” Teyssier said. (IANS)